Simply a Good Story.

I’m very excited to introduce you to my latest book: Out by Ten.

Out by Ten

I have written several other novels but this is the one I like best.

While writing the book, I was rereading my favourite book of all time, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens—which has to be the most romantic book ever. As I read, I thought it would be rather fun to mingle what I was reading with what I was writing—my main character began to read the story, and the plot mirrors the same themes of imprisonment and escape, people living under false names, and individuals being caught up by national events (and of course, a dollop of romance).

I actually started to write Out by Ten in April 2019, when I was staying in a holiday home in Norfolk. It struck me that holiday homes often hide the key in the same place each year, and that if you needed to disappear, they would be good places to hide (plus I thought it would be really fun to secretly live in someone else’s house!) I began to write a story about a young woman who was escaping.

It takes a long time to write a novel. I was still writing in 2020, so when Covid-19 arrived, I realised that my ‘contemporary fiction’ would not be very ‘contemporary’ unless I included references to the virus. I therefore rewrote the novel, setting it in the surreal world that we lived in during lockdown. As I felt bewildered by empty supermarket shelves, and insecure as I changed every event in my diary, I transferred those feelings to my main character. Bizarrely, world events, with the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, beautifully mirrored the start of the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities, and I found my story flowed naturally in line with what was happening.

One of my friends is autistic. We worked together at lunch club, and when lockdown began we spoke on the phone. I realised how different things appear through her eyes, and I wanted to show some of the challenges involved for a family when one person is on the autistic spectrum. I therefore made one of the main characters autistic—though a child, so very different to my friend. As I wrote, I heard my friend’s voice bemoaning the silly fuss of coronavirus and I tried to imagine how a child might cope (or not cope) with different situations and the stress this would add to family dynamics.

When I thought the book was finished, I gave it to my beta readers, who informed me it was too religious. I didn’t really want to write ‘a religious book’ and decided to remove all references to my faith. This is simply a good story, with no agenda other than to entertain.

Writing this book was tremendous fun, so I hope you will enjoy reading it. As all my book-signings and fairs are currently in lockdown, a proper ‘launch’ of my book won’t be possible, but I wanted to tell you—my extended friends and neighbours—about it. To be honest, I always feel rather awkward about ‘selling’ to friends anyway but it’s a necessary evil to cover my costs. I have therefore decided to list the paperback on Amazon at the reduced price of just £6.99, for this week only. Next week it will raise to £8.99 (to start paying some costs) so please buy a copy quickly, and settle down for a good story.

Thanks for reading. Take care.

Love, Anne x

The Amazon link is here:

Is It Worth Reading Reviews?

How to Get Book Reviews

Who Writes Book Reviews?

And are they worth it?

Do you check Trip Advisor before you choose a restaurant? Flick through the reviews on Amazon before you buy a book? Check out the comments before you buy that new kettle online? I do too. But we might not be reading what we think we are. And the flip-side, of course, is how does a lowly author persuade people to review their own books?

I recently saw a conversation on Twitter, where one author (well-known on Twitter, if not in bookshops) was laughing at authors who only have a handful of reviews. I kept very quiet, and hung my head in shame—I am one of those authors. It’s not that I don’t manage to sell books, I do. But however many people ‘promise’ to write a review, in actual fact it is about 1% of people who actually do. Therefore, when I see that Miss Twitter Author has 204 reviews, mostly 5* (and this is something often posted on Twitter by people advertising their books) well; why do I bother? It makes me want to curl up under the stairs with a Mars bar (which is not an uncommon feeling at the moment).

I belong to some Facebook groups for writers, and the people there are sometimes willing to read and review a new book. But even those people don’t always write a review when it actually comes to it! (Some do, and I am hugely grateful for the people who kindly gave their time to read my work and then review it.) But compared with 204 reviews? I am a worm.

However, all is not lost. I recently learnt that all these reviews might not be what they seem. It is possible that 204 reviews is not 1% of a LOT of sales, or that Miss Twitter’s books stimulate more reviews than mine, because it is possible to pay for reviews. I have been approached twice now, by different organisations, asking if I would like to pay to have my book reviewed. Maybe some of the books with a lot of reviews have paid for them!

It works like this: You agree to pay a fixed price (there are several packages to choose from) and then you send a digital copy of your book to a reader. The reader then posts a review, on either Goodreads, or Amazon, or both. They say they will be honest reviews, but I somehow doubt that an author will return to buy more from a site that has left them 1* reviews.

Is this fair? Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with paying to advertise your work, and I suppose that reviews are sort of advertising. But I think most people assume the reviews are honest, written by unrelated readers who are giving honest feedback about a book. If someone has paid money, it feels less authentic.


This buying of reviews is not just limited to books. I know of businesses who pay professionals to manage their online image. This basically means that people are paid to write good reviews for restaurants they have never visited, and products they have never bought. I understand why it happens. If a restaurant has a bad review, it can influence whether new customers will visit. It is therefore part of good management to watch out for nasty reviews from competitors, or unfair reviews from Mrs Moan-a-Lot. Many sites do not allow you to remove an unfair review, so the only solution is to flood the site with good feedback, so the bad review is buried, which is time-consuming, so they pay someone else to do that for them. There is no way for us, the consumer, to see whether a review is legitimate or paid for. Which makes trusting reviews bit of a gamble.

I don’t like the practice of buying reviews, and prefer to stick with my handful of genuine ones. They really matter to an author, so if you haven’t ever written one, please spend a couple of minutes scribbling one on Amazon. It doesn’t need to be long. Even the negative ones are useful—they show people have read the book, and sometimes I will still buy a book after reading a negative review.

Do reviews make a difference? Hard to say. I am influenced by them, and will scan them before buying a book on Amazon. However, I think they only count for a tiny proportion of the overall advertising push, and it depends where they are. My books have been reviewed in newspapers, and on the radio, and by magazines. I would say they have made no discernible difference to my sales. The reviews on Amazon have helped persuade people to buy (plus they are very precious to the author!) as do reviews on some social media—though my books have been reviewed on other people’s blogs, and I have not noticed any increase in sales.

The absolute best reviews are the casual, word of mouth, ones. If a woman at the bus-stop talks about a book she has loved, or if your friend mentions a book worth reading, then you are more likely to buy it.

I flicked open my Amazon page this week, to glance at the reviews of Sowing Promises. I planned to launch this book in the spring, but then lockdown happened, and hardly anyone has bought it. And yet, to my surprise, there were a couple of reviews, and they warmed my heart. I don’t know who wrote them (it wasn’t my mum!) and they cheered my day and made me smile. Which for me, is the most important thing about reviews.

Thanks for reading. If you have any tips for encouraging people to write reviews, do add them to the comments below.

Have a good week. Stay safe.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson

Thank you for reading
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Amazon reviews

A lovely surprise! Some encouraging feedback from readers on Amazon.

Next week, I will be reviewing a book written by a slave in 1745. There were some surprising facts!


Getting Started

Getting Started

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Do you ever feel you spend the whole day ‘not getting started’? I suspect this is especially true for writers, but probably affects everyone. I mean that whole, being busy but not quite managing to do what I intended to do sort of day, when time slips past like an oily jelly, and suddenly it’s lunch time and I still haven’t started what I intended to do.

It’s not that I haven’t done anything, more that I have not accomplished what I planned to do. Like, when you want a cup of coffee, but first you have to wash-up a mug—the washing-up bit was not your purpose, it is merely one of those have-to-do jobs that appear before the main event. I seem to have a lot of those. . .

Take today, as the perfect example. Today, I plan to write. I am two-thirds of the way through the first draft of my new novel, and I’m loving it, and the characters are completely real people inside my head, and I am excited by where the plot is going inside my head, and over the weekend it occurred to me exactly how the book should end. All inside my head. Therefore, this morning, I am raring to get writing, and put those ideas into words. Today I plan to write. But. . .

I cannot really function without my morning coffee and Bible time, so after cleaning my teeth, I go downstairs and put on the kettle. A chick hatched overnight, so I go and check it is managing to drink (touch and go whether this one will survive). I refill the dog and cat’s water and food, make my coffee, read my Bible. Then it’s time to go for a run (not far, a 20 minute yomp to the end of the road: has to be done first-thing otherwise my exercise for the day is non-existent). Husband wants to come, so I agree to wait for him and fill the time sorting out my mother’s shopping for the week with Ocado. Husband appears, we run.

Return to house breathless and very sweaty. While Husband showers, I give feeble chick more water. Then I go to the pond to check chicks outside have water and food and aren’t stuck anywhere. Mother hen is very ferocious, and tries to attack me as I change water and top up food and attempt to grab some of the dirty hay and replace it with clean bedding. I check on Matilda. Matilda is a pheasant I found on a dog-walk, clearly dying as she had been hit (I assume) by a car, and lying on an oft-walked route, so likely to be mauled by the next passing dog/fox—not a nice way to die; so I carried her home and put her in a duck hutch to die peacefully. Except she didn’t die, so I now have a one-legged pheasant living in a hutch. (I have received a lot of family feedback about this.) Matilda is fine. Change her water, and top up the duck food.

Am about to shower, when I realise I haven’t ‘fed’ my sourdough starter today. I make a loaf every Tuesday, and it needs 24 hours to ferment, so I weigh the flour and stir it into the gloop, ready for tomorrow.

Grab a few dirty clothes and shove them into the washing machine, and give feeble chick another few sips of water.

Finally make it into shower, last hurdle before I do what I planned to do, and write more of my book. Except. . . while in the shower, it occurs to me that this would make a reasonably interesting blog, and if I quickly write this first, it leaves the rest of the week beautifully clear for wring my book.

At last, I have finished, and I hope that today, you manage to achieve what you planned to achieve, with no distractions. Now, if you will please excuse me, I have a book to write. . .

Thank you for reading.
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A Book Worth Reading. . .

Three more weeks of #lockdown. An excellent time to read one of my books.

All my books are available from Amazon, some of them are free if you have a kindle. Which one will you choose?

UK Amazon Link Here

US Amazon Link Here

Australian Amazon Here

Amazon India Here

When other people write better than you do…

If you travel to London at the moment, there are several huge billboards advertising The Girl on the Train. The book has morphed into a film, and now a play. Now, I have read the book, and it was very enjoyable, but the writing style is not, in my opinion, very different to my own (Paula Hawkins even has the same errors as me, and tends to write ‘that’ too many times). Other than acknowledging that her book is way more successful than mine, it doesn’t cause me any angst. Nor do the books which are fairly well-known, published commercially, and hugely popular, written in a style which frankly I cannot read, because they are so full of drivel. No, the books which cause me a problem, which make me wonder if I should just give up and make hats or something, are the books which are excellent.

The problem, I think, for an author, is when other people write better than you do.

If you are an author, or writer, or whatever it is that you wish to call yourself, then you cannot help but compare yourself to other people. Let’s be honest, there is a wealth of literature out there, from excellent contemporary fiction, to way back when Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels (now that was a very clever book). And for most of us, if we are honest, our own writing does not compare very well.

Now, when I first began writing, this was something of a problem. I love writing, I always have, but letting other people read what I write was another matter altogether. Writing was private, for fun, not for sharing. The potential for public humiliation is immense—what if other people don’t like your writing? When I read the books I love, from Charlotte Bronté to John le Carré, I am aware that my own offerings are not in the same class. For decades, this meant that my work remained hidden away, never read.

Then, one day, in a moment of madness, I showed one of my books (which was scribbled on the back of Ocado receipts) to my husband. He’s not the sort of husband who gives away compliments freely, and yet, wonder of wonders, he actually liked my writing, and told me that he hadn’t realised that I “could write like that.”

In 2016, I published my first book. This took scary to a whole new level; now complete strangers were going to be reading my work—even worse, people who knew me would read it. I sold some copies, and waited (not quite hiding under the bed, but wanting to). To my amazement and relief, people were nice. I was sent letters from friends, and emails from strangers, who had enjoyed Hidden Faces, asking if there was a sequel.

People read my books, and told me that they: “Read a chapter every night, and so look forward to it that I find I go to bed early just so I can read more,” or “I became so engrossed in Joanna’s actions, she was such a complex character, I didn’t want the story to end,” and, “Reading Clara was like watching a car crash, I knew that I should look away, but I was fascinated, and half of me wanted her to succeed…” I grew braver.

Here’s the thing, I know that my books are still inferior to those by authors that I love to read. I guess it is similar to an artist, who loves to paint, and who creates some very pleasing watercolours, but who knows that their work does not even begin to compare to Van Gogh. They also know that their work is improving and evolving and that other people enjoy it enough to pay for it. Should they stop painting? No, I think they should definitely continue. Do you sometimes feel your own work isn’t good enough? Then improve it—but don’t stop writing!

Personally, I feel that my writing is like orange squash. There is nothing wrong with orange squash, and it’s a lot better than the vinegar that some people produce. In fact, on a hot summer’s day, a long cool drink of orange squash is exactly what you feel like, and is incredibly pleasing. However, it’s not red wine, it cannot pretend to be red wine, and no one is going to think that it is. When I read a certain phrase by John la Carré (my current favourite author) it is like sipping a beautiful red wine, I want to sip it, savour it; I read it several times. I cannot produce that, but that’s okay; there is definitely a place for orange squash, and who knows? Maybe one day, if I keep working hard, I too might produce something of a decent vintage. One day…

Thank you for reading.

The link to my Amazon page is here: Anne’s Amazon page

Work well this week, and take care.
Love, Anne x

As I said, my writing is definitely improving (because people tell me so!) Have you read my latest novel? A heartwarming story, set on a farm, it contains a lot of my family’s humour and some poignant moments. Why not buy a copy today?

Ploughing Through Rainbows by Anne E. Thompson. Available from Amazon.

A Little Grammar for Authors

I have finally, after four rewrites and several beta-readers, sent the manuscript of Sowing Promises to my editor. The book will be a sequel to Ploughing Through Rainbows, and the first draft of Promises (which at the time felt ‘finished’) was completed many months ago, before I even published Rainbows. My point is this, being an author, and creating wonderful stories is great fun however, before we sell those stories to the public, we need to do a lot of work—work which is mostly boring and frustrating, and in some cases, when an editor tells us that something which we love really doesn’t work, we need to take a big breath and accept the criticism, change the manuscript and move on.

Anne E Thompson has written several novels and writes a regular blog each week. You can follow her blog at:

Now, I read a lot of books, of many different genres by both famous and unheard-off authors, and just about the only thing which makes me stop reading a book before the end, is bad grammar. I was not particularly well educated as a child; my English lessons consisted of telling us to ‘be creative’ and very little teaching of formal English grammar. But it matters. It matters a lot. Anyone who plans to publish their work, really needs to invest in an editor who has better knowledge of formal English than they do, and they also need to work hard to improve their own understanding of some of the ‘rules’ (even though, when writing a novel, many of the ‘rules’ can be broken in the name of building tension and creating an atmosphere). I will tell you a few of my pet hates, which is very brave of me because when writing, even when you know the rules, it is so very easy to make an error, and when writing about grammar, someone else is sure to spot them!

One common error is apostrophe s. This one is easy. If something belongs to someone, the someone has apostrophe s. So ask yourself, ‘who does it belong to?’ and add apostrophe s. “The boys shoes”—who do the shoes belong to? The boy? Then write “The boy’s shoes.” More than one boy? So the shoes belong to the boys? Then write “The boys’s shoes”. In English, we don’t like s’s because it looks ugly, so take away the second s but leave the apostrophe: “The boys’ shoes.”

One thing I learnt very recently was the use of superlatives. This is the fancy name for when you have the most of something, and the rule is, you cannot use a superlative unless there are more than two. So, two brothers playing croquet? Neither can be ‘the best’ one can be ‘better than’ the other, or the ‘better player’ –but not ‘the best’. If however, their father plays too, then he can be ‘the best’ because there are now more than two players. If you have two children, one can be the older child, but he cannot be ‘the oldest’ nor ‘the eldest’ because there are only two.

There is another rule about the use of ‘less’ and fewer’. If you can easily count the items, use fewer. If there are too many to count, use less. You will now be irritated every time you visit the supermarket, and see the Express Checkout till, which is sure to be (wrongly) labelled “Five Items or less” (however, we have seen it so many times, that ‘Five items or fewer’ simply seems wrong!)

I hope you write well this week.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

A hilarious family saga set on a farm. Being a parent has no end-date, as Susan discovers when her adult sons begin to make unexpected choices in life.
A warm-hearted, feel good novel that will make you smile.

How to Never Sell Any Books

How to Never Sell Any books

If you decide to be an author, there are a few rather spikey lessons which must be learnt along the way. If you want to write, and never be read, then here are a few tips which will ensure that no one ever buys your books. Sit back, and enjoy:

  1. When a bookshop agrees to sell your books, sit back, and do nothing else. This will ensure your book sits, undiscovered, on a dusty shelf, never to be opened again.
  2. If you are cajoled into turning up for a book-signing event, then you can bypass the danger with a few clever ploys:
    1. Do not wear anything even remotely attractive. Try to look as dowdy and uninteresting as possible. If someone should buy your book, it certainly won’t be because they are interested in you, as the author.
    2. Be sure to take your phone, and sit playing games the entire time. Eating something messy, like a burger, is another good ploy.
    3. Do not, whatever you do, make eye-contact, or speak to people passing by. It’s best if you can position a table between you and the potential customers, and sit behind it with your arms folded whenever not playing game/eating (see above).
    4. Don’t plan any kind of ‘speech’ about your book. If someone should interrupt your game/food to ask what the book is about, look confused and mumble something incoherent.
    5. Do not make your table look attractive. Beware of taking posters, or visual aids related to your book. It’s much better to simply dump a pile of books on the table, face-down if possible.
    6. Never offer a book to a potential customer so they can hold it, feel the quality, read a snippet. If possible, keep the books well out of reach.
    7. Do not smile, not even a slight grin. Not selling books is a serious business, and it’s worth having a good scowl at all times.
    8. Never ask potential customers what they like reading, or engage them in conversation. If they insist on trying to chat, and especially if they want to tell you about the book they have written/intend to write (this happens A LOT) then cover your ears and hum loudly until they have left.
    9. Swearing loudly, picking your nose, cutting your toe-nails, will all help to deter potential customers. If you could have a spouse handy for a loud argument, that would be brilliant, otherwise use your phone and pretend.
  3. Avoid all places that might sell your books, and never mention them when you are with other people. Best to pretend that they don’t exist, in case you manage to make them sound interesting by mistake.
  4. When planning the cover of a new book, try to use dull colours, and never use the services of a professional. Do not make them even slightly similar to other books of the same genre.
  5. When printing the book, do not worry about the typesetting. It’s best if you ignore the way professionally published books are typeset, and try to add interesting features, like leaving a line between every paragraph, not indenting the first line of a paragraph, and use a font which will be sure to annoy any potential customers.
  6. Never, ever, allow anyone to edit your work prior to publication. This will ensure that, in worst case scenario someone actually manages to read some of your work when intending to buy it, the number of typos and misspelt words and general bad grammar will ensure that they quickly close the book and move on.
  7. Always make your books more expensive than any other book on the market.


I’m sure you can add to the above with some more excellent ways to ensure that you never sell a book. Good luck.

Thanks for reading. Take care,
Love, Anne x

Thanks for reading.
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There’s No End-Date to Parenting…

Sometimes, it can feel like you spend ten years teaching your child to be independent, and then twenty years wishing that you hadn’t! When your children are young, you long for them to be strong-minded, independent people who don’t need you anymore. But then when they are adults, and start to make their own decisions about how they will live, that can bring a whole different set of problems.

Meet Susan and Tom. They are farmers raising beef cattle, and their four sons are independent adults. But then they start to make life-choices that their parents find challenging, and Susan and Tom begin to wonder what their own role should be. One son announces he is a vegetarian, one son gets into debt, one is unfaithful and then one son tells them that he is gay.

Before writing the book, I spent a lot of time listening. I listened to farmers, and learnt what it means to raise cattle.

I also listened to parents who had learnt their children were gay, and to gay men and women who are discovering what that means in today’s society. One of the groups that finds this most challenging is the church, and so I also spent time listening to what people in the church think and feel. One aspect that came out (excuse the pun) very strongly, is that sometimes, neither side of the traditional Christian viewpoint seem to actually understand how the other side feels. It seemed to me that there was a lot of talking, of proclaiming of views, and very little listening—because of all other issues, this seems to be the most emotive.

 I wanted to write a ‘nice’ book—something happy that my readers would enjoy (after a few years of learning about, and writing novels about, psychopaths, I still find that my easy-read fun novel about an infant school is the one that people want to buy a second copy of, for their friends). Writing a funny book set on a farm seemed like a good idea. Introducing potentially inflammatory issues was a little trickier. I hope I have achieved a good balance and produced a book which will make you smile whilst also giving food for thought. I worked very hard to represent differing views fairly, and my hope is that by the end you will have heard each viewpoint very clearly whilst not being sure what my, the author’s, view is. Personally, I fell in love with some of the characters, to the extent that when the book was finished, I immediately started to write the sequel!

I hope you think it is a jolly good story and you will recommend it to a friend.

Please buy a copy, and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading. Take care.
Love, Anne x

Ploughing Through Rainbows by Anne E. Thompson

Available from Amazon as a Kindle book and a paperback. UK link below:

paperback link

Kindle link

Designing a Book Cover

I love telling stories, and I love writing stories. However, when I decided to try and sell my stories, I realised that I would need covers for my books. At first, I thought that the cover didn’t really matter, everyone has heard the proverb: “Don’t judge the book by the cover.” If the story was excellent, people would read it. Ah, how wrong I was!

In reality, people do judge the book by the cover. I have learned a few points about book cover design – mainly from Mr. P, the man who runs my local independent bookshop, as he knows exactly what will attract customers, and he has kindly spent hours educating me on all things book-sales-related.

One point is the spine of your book. If you plan to sell through shops, people will only ever see the spine of your book (unless you are a bestseller author in Waterstones, in which case, you don’t need to be reading this!) My first book had nothing but words on the spine, so I was advised to add pictures or colours, to make it more attractive. If you look at commercially produced books, most have more than just words on the spine.

Actually, looking at commercially produced books is an excellent way to learn. Another thing Mr P. told me, was that people buy books which look like books they have previously enjoyed. Is this true? Well, have a look at the covers of books next time you’re in a bookshop.

Lee Child (bestseller) tends to have a photograph of a lonely man on his covers. If you look, other publishers are now copying this.

In fact, some books that are in bookshops are barely discernible from each other, as the covers are almost identical.

Which means that I, as a lowly self-published author, need to take a look at popular books which are similar to mine, and copy their covers.

Now, Ploughing Through Rainbows is set on a farm raising cows. I therefore planned to use a photograph of cows on the cover.

After some honest feedback from family members (my family are not the sort who tell me everything is wonderful, they are very happy to point out my errors!) I realised this wouldn’t work. To begin with, there was nothing about the cover which linked with the title. My son then tried adding rainbows. I loved this, felt the cover was sorted. But then I mentioned the advice about having a cover that was similar to covers of famous books. We looked at a few.

Ploughing Through Rainbows is fairly similar to the books by James Herriot – it will appeal to intelligent readers who want a nice, feel-good book, and the story is about the people rather than action (no murders in this one). James Herriot books have a computer-generated drawing on the front, showing a pastoral scene.

When I looked at other books set in the countryside, they were similar. This was beyond my capabilities, so my son produced a cover for me. I think it looks great, I hope you agree.

 Thank you for reading. Do look out for my new book, it will soon be available from Amazon, and it tells the story of a mother learning how to parent four adult sons. It’s a book to make you smile, whilst also considering some gritty issues.

Have a good week.

Love, Anne x